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The Alberta government is applauding an electricity industry advisory report that it says vindicates its frustrations with the federal government.

The Canada Electricity Advisory Council’s final report, released Monday, concludes that the Liberals’ 2035 deadline for a net-zero grid is “unrealistic and unattainable,” Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz said in a statement Tuesday

The report recommends developing provincial and territorial roadmaps to achieve a carbon-neutral energy system by 2050.

“The Canada Electricity Advisory Council’s latest report echoes Alberta’s long-standing warning: Ottawa’s one-size-fits-all electricity regulations are a dangerous, costly, and unrealistic path to failure,” reads the statement from Smith and Schulz.

The council began in May 2023 and intended to advise on policies to assist the electricity sector in reaching net zero across the nation.

The council comprises 19 electricity sector leaders from across Canada. Over the last year, the council held 87 meetings, heard from 117 stakeholders through 66 private briefings and 72 written submissions, and offered 28 recommendations to the federal government.

Various recommendations in the report suggest that the federal government shift its focus from a net-zero electricity grid by 2035 to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

The recommendations focus on implementing a pragmatic approach and focusing on collaboration between the federal government and provinces.

“The council recommends that the federal government support provinces, territories, and Indigenous Nations and communities in their development and regular updating of economy-wide pathway assessments that explore available and credible pathways for achieving a net-zero or carbon-neutral economy by 2050,” reads the report.

The council’s chair, Philippe Dunsky, admitted that the report is imperfect and will not solve every challenge, but he said that the recommendations reflect an achievable path forward.

“In the end, while Council members’ respective provinces and territories may face different challenges, we are all members of the same Team Canada,” said Dunsky.

While the report said that four in five Canadians live in provinces where electricity is largely decarbonized (more than 90% non-emitting), it added that regions which rely on fossil fuels for the bulk of their power generation — Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and remote Northern communities — have struggled.

“For over two years, provinces, utilities, businesses, and Canadians have demanded federal electricity regulations that reduce emissions without sacrificing affordability and reliability. Yet the federal government has stubbornly stuck to its plans to implement unrealistic targets for a net-zero grid by 2035, regardless of the costs and risks to Albertans,” reads the joint statement.

To achieve the country’s goals, the report said that provinces will need to decarbonize existing electrical systems, but also rapidly grow capacity. 

“Electricity’s market share will need to grow roughly threefold within a single generation. At that point, it would be the country’s primary form of energy supply,” reads the report.

The report showed that the energy transition could cost between $1.1 and $2 trillion. One key recommendation for keeping the cost down was to show flexibility for jurisdictions across Canada and the different challenges that come with regional disparities.

Federal Energy Minister Jonathan Wilkinson thanked the council for its report, saying the recommendations will support the federal government in its next steps forward to achieving net zero.

Alberta has remained steadfast in its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, urging the federal government to abandon its 2035 goal at every chance possible.

“Alberta already has a plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 — the federal government should work with us to achieve this goal,” concluded the joint statement between Smith and Schulz.